Monday, July 05, 2010

Round of 16. Match 4: Argentina 3-1 Mexico

For me, this match was spoiled by one key wrong decision. On 26 minutes Argentina took the lead through Tevez who was clearly in an offside position. It wasn't the most obvious decision for the assistant referee due to the speed with which it all happened, but it was definitely one he should have got right. Up until that point Mexico had looked the most threatening of the two sides: Salcido had attempted his luck with a very good powerful shot from distance which forced Romero into a save, Guardado fired just wide after good build up play from Dos Santos and Hernandez also spurned a decent opportunity. However from the first goal on Argentina always appeared on course to win.

The Mexicans complained bitterly to the referee about the goal, surrounding him as he talked to the assistant referee. The Argentinians also came in to have their say and it appeared the match was at boiling point. I later found out that what was at issue was the goal had been given but then the replay of the goal was shown on the big screen. The Mexicans obviously saw it and were up in arms. The ref and his officials would have seen it too but couldn't change the decision otherwise they would be in hot water with FIFA for making a decision based on a video replay. A video replay wasn't even supposed to have been played but there had somehow been an oversight.

Due to the whole incident Mexico lost the plot and six minutes later they went 2-0 behind. This was due to some dreadful defending from Osorio who dallied/took his eye off the ball which Higuain took off him with devastating consequences. I believe this was a hangover from the earlier decision. Mexico had started to look a distinctly average side compared with the one that had started so brightly. It was clearly due to the nature of the first goal that the wind had been taken out of their sails and they couldn't cope.

The third goal in the second half was even more of a killer blow than the second. At least this one was a moment of beauty. Tevez seemed to be in a fairly innocuous position 25 yards from goal, but he unleashed one of the goals of the tournament, powering it into the top corner. It was harsh on Mexico who no way deserved to be 3 goals down.

Mexico did manage a consolation as Hernandez worked his magic, scoring a delightful goal. But the goal was academic to the result, and Argentina marched on to a quarter-final with Germany.

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